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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Redding: Parkview Park and Trail

Let’s take care of the redundancy first: Parkview Park and Trail.  Is this a park with a view of another park?

A shady picnic grove in Parkview Park
To complicate matters, the name is sometimes written as Parkview Trail and Park, Parkview Riverfront Park and Trail, and other forms.

The park is named after the surrounding neighborhood of Parkview, first subdivided in the 1930s and one of Redding's older neighborhoods.

This small park along the Sacramento River came along in 2004 and consists of paved pedestrian trails and paths, picnic areas, a small parking lot, and shady places to sit and look at the river.

Bridge piers of the long-gone Free Bridge

In the river by the park are two old concrete piers that supported Redding’s Free Bridge. The first version of the Free Bridge was built across the Sacramento River at the southern outskirts of Redding in 1884. It was called a Free Bridge because no toll was charged to cross it.

It washed away in 1906 and was rebuilt by 1908 as a steel 320-foot span making it the longest such span in California at the time. In 1940 it was damaged by floods and repaired. In 1948 the Cypress Avenue Bridge was built just upstream. The Free Bridge was declared unsafe after a 1955 flood, closed to traffic, and dismantled in 1956. The steel in it became part of a ready-mix plant in Cottonwood.

Free Bridge Powerhouse
Nearby is the Free Bridge Powerhouse, a defunct electrical substation, that was built in 1897 and took its name from the bridge. This same structure is also called The Rock House.

Directions:Interstate 5 Exit: Cypress Avenue (Exit 677), 158 miles north of Sacramento.
Route: Go west on Cypress, stay in the left lane, cross the Sacramento River, and watch for State Route 273/South Market Street. Turn left on SR 273, stay to the left, and after one long block turn left onto Parkview. Follow Parkview into the park.

For a map, click on Bing or Google or Mapquest or Yahoo!

Sources: "Travelin' in Time: Sacramento River Has Place in History," at


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